My thirteen-year-old niece recently started her own (private) blog and agreed to let me repost one of her essays. Enjoy!
When I read about Greta Thunberg, her family, and their activism for the environment, my eyes welled up, the words blurred by my sadness and anger. I did not finish that book. My parents and I decided that I should stay away from such dramatic stories to preserve my sanity.
Instead, I started learning more about ways to counter this problem that has been passed down the generations. At the library, I raided the sections on climate change, plastic pollution, and low-waste living. I shared resources with my friends. I sewed cloth napkins and wrote to officials. I was using every reasonable* tool in my inadequate, kid-sized tool belt.
I have gotten stronger, mentally and emotionally. I have come to terms with the disrespect and harm coming to our tossing sphere. I no longer cry myself to sleep with a drowning feeling of helplessness. I find ways to help instead of sitting in a puddle of my own tears. I think I’ll read the rest of that Greta book.
The rain outside my window is the aftermath of hurricane Ida. The garden is only now getting the moisture it needs, after the miserly corn harvest. The stalks stand in their dead rows in the field, a sight becoming more common over years of abuse to the Earth we depend on whether we like it or not.
I am outraged every time I see food in styrofoam and plastic on the roadside–basically all the time. I feel like nobody cares. When I hear about plastic bag bans or a pipeline blocked, I am temporarily consoled. But the fear and anger sneak back in. They still sometimes overwhelm me. I must learn to harness this grief and negative energy and bring my voice to the world.
*Some examples of – as deemed by my parents and the overall society –“unreasonable” tools: never driving, not buying any dairy or meat whatsoever, only making our own clothing out of only organic cotton, not buying anything in plastic, etc.
photo credits: my niece